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Russia Becomes World Fifth Biggest Bullion Holders

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Russia Becomes World Fifth Biggest Bullion Holders

Russia became the world’s fifth largest official sector holder of gold  as Western sanctions drove buying by its central bank to record highs in 2018 , its data showed on Friday. China dropped to sixth place as it reported an increase in gold reserves just once in more than two years, with its holdings rising to 59.6 million ounces in December 2018 from 59.2 million ounces in October 2016.

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With support from Russia President Vladimir Putin, the central bank in Russia has been betting heavily on bullion, often seen as a safe haven or a natural hedge against the dollar, with active purchases in the last 10 years. “It seems that there is an aim to diversify from American assets,’’ said a source at one Russian gold producer, referring to the central bank’s holdings.

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In 2018, Russia’s buying jumped further as holdings of U.S. Treasury securities were reduced after Washington imposed sanctions on Russian entities in April, the toughest since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Russia’s central bank is buying domestically produced gold from commercial banks.

African News

Zimbabwe Central Bank Abandons Quasi Dollar

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Zimbabwe Central Bank Abandons Quasi Dollar

Zimbabwe Central Bank has abandoned the quasi dollar it introduced in 2016.  The peg of one Zimbabwe dollar to one US dollar has not worked as the black market rate has been in the range of three and a half to four Zimbabwe dollars to one U.S. dollar.

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Economists say this move could lead to jitters in countries that hold the peg, including Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.

Zimbabwe has long been dealing with currency instability that in 2009, it introduced the US dollar, euro, and the South African rand as legal tenders it thought would stem the wild round of hyper-inflation.

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Business News

FIRS Directs Banks To Lift Liens Placed On Tax Defaulters’ Accounts

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FIRS Directs Banks To Lift Liens Placed On Tax Defaulters' Accounts

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has directed banks to lift for 30 days the liens placed on bank accounts of alleged tax defaulters.

FIRS explained that it took the step because large numbers of defaulting taxpayers have besieged its offices in than effort to regularise their tax positions.

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In September, FIRS Boss Babatunde fowler had said the service was going after six thousand defaulters whose bank accounts would be frozen until they pay up.

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KPMG, one of the big four auditors in the world, had accused FIRS of going draconian by directing banks to freeze accounts of suspected tax defaulters.

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African News

Total Discovers Gas Off Southern Coast of South Africa

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Total Discovers Gas Off Southern Coast of South Africa

Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of French energy giant, Total, says his company has made a significant discovery of gas, off the southern coast of South Africa.

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Total says potential quantities could be around one billion barrels of global resources, gas and condensate light oil. The country currently imports fuel from Mozambique.

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South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe, says the discovery was a potentially major boost for the economy.

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